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German gas imports fall 4% in Jan-Sept, bill jumps 57%

Germany imported 4% less natural gas in the first nine months of 2021 versus a year earlier, but its bill rose 57% as prices surged, data from trade statistics office BAFA showed on Wednesday.

Tight gas supply has sent prices spiralling in Europe and elsewhere, and fresh delays to the anticipated arrival of Russian supplies via the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline have compounded the situation.

Traders of power and carbon also monitor gas imports because the supply-and-demand balance can affect prices and traded volumes in those related wholesale markets.

Gas statistics correlate with coal, which competes with gas in the production of electricity, while also giving clues about demand for mandatory European carbon emissions permits.

BAFA’s monthly figures showed Germany’s imports in the first nine months of the year were 3,824,499 Terajoules (TJ) – equivalent to 108.7 billion cubic metres (bcm) – compared with 3,982,581 TJ a year earlier.

Importers’ bills over the eight months came to 19.9 billion euros ($22.51 billion), versus 12.7 billion in the same period in 2020.

The average price paid per TJ on the border in the period was up 64% year-on-year at 5,213.00 euros, BAFA said.

In September alone, the price per TJ was 7,726.73 euros, equivalent to 2.78 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), and up 127.3% year-on-year.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, mainly imports gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.

German gas stocks, which can hold three to four months’ worth of annual consumption, were at 68.7% of available storage capacity on Monday, European gas infrastructure group GIE’s website showed, compared with 93% a year ago.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Pravin Char)

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